NORMANTON to ATHERTON

“So, where do we start climbing from?”  This is what we’ve been asking, literally anyone that will listen, to better understand our route from Normanton to Ravenshoe, which sits at 920m and at the very top of the Great Dividing Range.  Right from the start, was the correct answer!

Unlike the mountain ranges we’ve crossed in South America and Europe, here they are deceptive.  You think its flat, but in reality you are slowly grinding your way uphill.  Combine that with a stiff breeze, which constantly blows right up your nose, and you really do earn your tea and fruit cake!

But lucky for us, this gently sloping country has created one of the rarest and most fascinating volcanic phenomena on earth – the Undara Lava Tubes.  Here, 190,000 years ago, a massive eruption caused a lava flow over 160km – which is the longest flow originating from a single volcano anywhere in the world!  As the lava cooled, it left tunnels (or lava tubes) which you can now walk through.  It is quite amazing and our guide Andrew Sturges from Undara Experience really made it come alive.  It’s a good thing we are not cycling back then!!

On the Atherton Tablelands, the scenery changes very quickly – which says a lot going at cycling speed.  The scrub and grasslands disappear, and are instantly replaced with rolling green hills, misty waterfalls and lots of dairy cows!  We visited Gallo’s Dairyland to learn more about the dairy industry and see how one of my favourite foods is made – say ‘cheese’ everyone!

From here, we go a little further north to Cape Tribulation and the incredible Daintree National Park, before turning around and heading for Cairns.  It is then all downhill to Melbourne, or so we are told… ?

Stay tuned and enjoy the ride!

Jules & Jess

PS:  Hey kids, check out the factsheets below;

How Does A Cow Turn Grass Into Milk

The Undara Lava Tubes

The Gilbert River stunningly cutting through the savannah grasslands

 

Do they calls these "development roads" because they need it, or create it?

 

Jess doing her best "pot of gold" impression !

 

Routh Creek, a great camping spot if your ever passing by

 

Jess slogging her way up the Newcastle Range

 

Where is this Turtle Rock thingy, we are meant to see ?

 

Happy Easter! Sunday morning at the top of the Newcastle Range

 

The Undara Lava tubes. You get inside through the collapsed roof.

 

Andrew Sturges from Undara Experience making it come alive !

 

The best bit is walking inside. Geez, this water is cold!!

 

Evidence of our "early ancestors" perhaps?

 

No flies on me, mate!

 

Amazing how quick the scenery changes

 

Millstream Falls, reputedly Australia's widest single drop falls !

 

And lots of dairy of cows!

 

Must be why they call this "windy hill" ?

 

Yet another shot of Jess pedalling uphill and into the wind (NB i'm on the bus...)

 

The photo I've always wanted - aka the pioneering timber cutter!

 

Something smells good? Gallo's Dairyland on the Atherton Tablelands

 

Everyone say cheese! Watching the good stuff get made!